Los Angeles- A new study has revealed that vaccinations for measles are not only effective in preventing just the said disease, but several others as well. Measles is a respiratory disease, known to be highly contagious. However, the study has shown that the prevention of measles induced immune system damage, also results in the prevention of other infections. This effect can last for up to 3-years.
The researchers made use of health data from authorities in US, UK and Denmark, for before and after 1960 when vaccines became available. The study, although targeted at ‘immune amnesia’, showed a correlation between measles cases and deaths from other infectious diseases.
Lead author, Michael J. Mina, stated: “With mathematical analysis of all of the epidemiological evidence we have, it seems that when measles was prevalent, it would go through a population, and that population would be at increased risk for mortality from other diseases for about 28 months, and in proportion to how many people were infected with measles.”
The study also found that those who did not get the vaccine became more susceptible to other infections. Since measles leads to severe depletion of immune cells and once the disease is gone, the immune cells start to reproduce. Unfortunately, the new cells will only know how to fend of measles related infections. The cells would need to be exposed to other infections to make the immune system working properly again.
Mina also highlighted that: “The work also demonstrates that, in these highly developed countries prior to the introduction of measles vaccine, measles may have been implicated in over 50 percent of all childhood infectious disease deaths.” As per the results of the study, it can take up to 28-months for the immune system to fully recover.
The research also pointed out that measles had contributed to almost 50% of childhood deaths before the vaccine was introduced. However, the rate of deaths from a number of infections fell after the introduction of the vaccine. The study has been published in The Science Journal and has come at a time when parents are avoiding the vaccine.